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Full text of "A history of Persia"

espatched on an exploring expedition with the consent
f the Khan, but his death changed the entire position,
nd the Russian expedition was attacked by his successor
tad annihilated. No steps were taken to retrieve this
isaster. During the years which followed Russia
radually absorbed the Kirghiz, the " Middle Horde"
ubmitting in 1702, and Orenburg was fortified as a base
or subsequent operations. During the latter half of the
ighteenth century the Russian advance was almost entirely
topped. In the nineteenth century Russia resumed her
brward policy, and in 1822 she incorporated the "Little
rlorde" in the Orenburg government. The suspicions
)f Khiva and Bokhara were fully aroused by these
The position of Russia in 1838-1839, just before the
*reat advance began, was as follows. To the west of the
Caspian Sea the Caucasus was still unsubdued, and more
than one hundred thousand Russian soldiers were besieg-
ing what was aptly termed " the greatest fortress in the
world." In Central Asia, with which we are more
immediately concerned, the Russian boundary ran up the
Ural River to Orenburg and thence to Troitzka. From
this centre it was drawn to Petro-pavlovsk, and so on
to Omsk and Semipalatinsk on the Chinese frontier.
The First Khivan Expedition, 1839-1840.—The first
movement southwards was made against the state of
Khiva. This expedition was undertaken partly as a reply
to the British occupation of Afghanistan, but it was
justified on other grounds. For many years the Uzbegs
had constantly attacked Russian outposts, plundered the
property of Russian subjects, and held a large number of
Muscovites in slavery.
Count Perovski, the Governor of Orenburg, com-
manded a column consisting of 3000 infantry, 2000
Cossacks, and twenty-two guns. In November, 1839, he
started off on the long march of some nine hundred miles.
Every arrangement had been made to supply the troops
with all necessaries, and, if anything, the transport column
was too large. Exceptional cold killed off the camels by
hundreds, the horses were unable to find food in the